Black Man Wrongly Convicted of Raping White Author to Receive $5.5M in Settlement

    Anthony Broadwater, at his lawyers’ office, CDH Law, Wednesday, December 1, 2021. (Photo by Matt Burkhartt for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

    *Anthony J. Broadwater served 16 years behind bars after being wrongfully convicted in the 1981 rape of award-winning author Alice Sebold. Now he’s set to receive a multi-million dollar payout from the state of New York. 

    “I appreciate what Attorney General [Letitia James] has done, and I hope and pray that others in my situation can achieve the same measure of justice,” Broadwater, 62, said in a statement, the New York Times reports. “We all suffer from destroyed lives.”

    Broadwater’s attorney Melissa Swartz said the $5.5 million settlement agreement ends the lawsuit her client filed related to his wrongful rape conviction.

    “We are obviously excited to get that lawsuit behind us,” Swartz said in a statement to PEOPLE. “It is going to provide Anthony with some financial stability for right now.

    READ MORE: ‘The Lovely Bones’ Author Apologizes to Black Man Falsely Accused in Her 1981 Rape Case

    “We are obviously relieved they were willing to settle the case and they were willing to doing it without actually deposing Anthony which we thought was extremely kind of the attorney’s general’s office to not put him through a deposition,” she added.

    In 1981, Broadwater, a 20-year-old Marine, was accused of raping Sebold, an 18-year-old Syracuse University freshman. We reported previously that Netflix was planning a film adaptation of Sebold’s memoir “Lucky,” but after Broadwater’s exoneration, the project was axed, Variety reports.  

    The film’s executive producer, Timothy Mucciante, paved the way for Broadwater’s exoneration, as the rape case was reexamined when he “began to question the story that the movie was based on earlier this year, after he noticed discrepancies between the memoir and the script,” per the New York Times.

    In a statement provided to PEOPLE, Attorney General James said Broadwater “was convicted for a crime he never committed, and was incarcerated despite his innocence. While we cannot undo the wrongs from more than four decades ago, this settlement agreement is a critical step to deliver some semblance of justice to Mr. Broadwater.”

    Sebold, a white woman, issued an apology to Broadwater in 2021.

    “First, I want to say that I am truly sorry to Anthony Broadwater and I deeply regret what you have been through,” Sebold wrote for Medium.

    “I am sorry most of all for the fact that the life you could have led was unjustly robbed from you, and I know that no apology can change what happened to you and never will,” she continued. “Of the many things I wish for you, I hope most of all that you and your family will be granted the time and privacy to heal.”

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